Hyderabad: The ruling TRS in Telangana got a shot in the arm on 10 February when the Centre declared in the Lok Sabha that Telangana continues to be a "revenue-surplus state" since it’s formation in 2014 and its debt burden is well within the prescribed limits under the FRBM Act.
The Opposition Congress and BJP in Telangana have been accusing the TRS government of pushing Telangana into a "debt trap" after it took over in 2014. The Centre’s statement on the state's financial condition has now provided enough ammunition to the ruling TRS to counter these charges.
Congress MP from Bhongir, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, had raised a question on Telangana’s financial condition in the Lok Sabha. Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her written reply, said Telangana is a revenue-surplus state and its debt to GDP ratio is within the prescribed limits. She also said that Telangana had received nearly Rs 1.60 lakh crore from the Centre in the past six years, which includes devolution of taxes from the Central pool and funds released for implementation of Centrally-sponsored schemes.
Ms Sitharaman said Rs 85,013 crore was released to Telangana under devolution of tax share in Central taxes in the past six years. Under the States Disaster Relief Fund, the Centre had released another Rs 1,289.40 crore. Towards various grants for local bodies, Telangana received Rs. 6,511 crore from the Centre and another Rs. 1,916 crore was released towards a special grant for backward districts. For rural development works, the state received Rs. 3,853 crore. A whopping Rs. 51,298.84 crore was released towards grants-in-aid and implementation of Centrally-sponsored schemes. Besides, an amount of Rs. 1,500.54 crore was released to the Women Development and Child Welfare schemes.
“The debt to GDP ratio from 2014-15 to 2019-20, though on a rising trend, is within the envelope prescribed by the 14th Finance Commission for its award period and is also in line with the medium-term fiscal policy statements of the Telangana government,” she said.
The statistics released by the finance minister has led to a verbal duel between TRS and Opposition Congress and BJP, with each party interpreting these figures to their favour. While the Congress claimed that the statistics revealed that Telangana’s debt burden is mounting, the BJP said the figures exposed TRS government’s "lies" about BJP-led NDA government at the Centre showing "discrimination" towards Telangana in releasing Central funds.
The TRS countered their allegations saying Ms Sitharaman’s statement is a "slap" to all those trying to raise a false alarm about the financial condition of Telangana. TRS sources said the Union finance minister clearly stated in her reply that Telangana’s financial condition is strong (revenue surplus) since the formation of the state in 2014.